[Editor’s Note: Lux Capital’s Josh Wolfe and Shahin Farschi also contributed to this post.]
In terms of the difficulty of the turnaround needed, it’s telling that Detroit derives from the French word for strait—a narrow passageway—symbolic of the chances Detroit really has for re-invention. It will take radical action, hugely energetic leaders, and messianic spokespeople to bang the drum for renewal and galvanize a depressed populace to squeeze through against the pressures of obsolescence.
Our ideas for the Motor City:
—Use the excess auto manufacturing capacity to build batteries, electric motors, renewable power and wind power chassis systems, which of course has been a theme of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration.
—Lure software engineers from Washington and California to build better mobile apps and services—the Ford-marketed SYNC is a start—but leaves much to be desired.
—Create a for-profit expert consulting hub modeled on the Gerson Lehrman Group that can be used to employ a core of displaced, highly skilled design, CAD, automation engineers to serve clients in other regions.
—Bulldoze Hamtramck, except for the big warehouses; turn them into “exploratoriums.“
—Make local government officials spend at least a year traveling around the world—so they don’t think the universe has been modeled after Michigan.
Editor’s note: To help launch Xconomy Detroit, we’ve queried our network of Xconomists and other innovation leaders around the country for their list of the most important things that entrepreneurs and innovators in Michigan can do to reinvigorate their regional economy.
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